Thursday, December 1, 2011

Rock Bottom

Rock bottom is an adjective or noun, depending on how it is used, that means "the lowest possible level." Yes it can refer to the first layer of rubble in a building construction project, but is more commonly used by those swept up in the madness of life. Be it addiction, lifestyle, illness or many other all consuming calamities, rock bottom is an ugly place people find themselves in for a variety of reasons. It is that horrible position in life when it gets as bad as it can get, cannot be any worse, the bottom of the trenches. That is what it means to me. And I have found myself there more than a few times since becoming ill with Fibromyalgia.

Hitting my lowest low was violently painful. The first one was a total emotional breakdown with anxiety spasms and a deep desire to disappear off the face of the earth. I had pushed myself too hard, hoping and praying if I ignored this stupid problem I was having it would go away. No doctor could tell me why I was sleeping 10 hours a night and waking up exhausted, why the pain in my body was so severe I cried when I stood up. Why I could not remember how to spell my father's name or would get confusingly lost driving home from work. They gave me pills for depression and a pat on the head, and those were the nice doctors. What it took to rebuild from that one, oh it took a lot. Time, medication, therapy, psychiatry and actually getting some deep sleep for a change. I put one painful foot on the bottom step of the ladder and hauled my pathetic self slowly up and out of the pit of despair and panic. Somehow along the way I learned to accept my life was different than before. And being the consummate type A that I am, I set out on a quest to figure out how to get it back.

I have hit bottom a few times since then, none as all encompassing or terrifying as that first breakdown. And what I have found is when it gets bad enough, all my choices seem to be stripped from me and the result is completely unacceptable, I can still decide. I can choose to be miserable and take what I am given. I can choose to keep flailing and meekly fight it, making myself much sicker. Or I can choose to change. Figure out how to do it and redefine my circumstances. I did not know I held this power until I was left with no other choice but to use it, and it was not easy. But over this last year I broke down a' plenty and had to pick myself up by the bootstraps and persevere. I changed a lot of things about my life. I was having rage episodes and gained a lot of weight. To lose both the weight and the rage I knew I had to start exercising. Oh it hurt so bad in the beginning! I had to up my pain meds and take it very slow, but I have lost 30 lbs. and stopped flying off the handle half-cocked for no good reason. Lately I have been swallowed up by the depression and self-pity monster. Guilt consumes me and victimization engulfs me. And once again I must choose. Does anger and helplessness keep eroding away at my life, or do I stand up, shout "No more! Its my life and I want it back!" and then set out to make that happen? Gratefully I have done this enough times to know what the answer is...

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